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Post Info TOPIC: Scenes From A Wedding April 2012


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Scenes From A Wedding April 2012


We attended a True, IRISH Wedding and (somehow) survived to tell the tale!

We toured the 'Sunny Southeast, a bit of East and West Cork, Central Dublin, and a touch of Dingle and North Kerry.  We met with family, ate many fine meals, and saw numerous ancient and historical sites.  We laughed.  We cried.  We rejoiced in the memories of the past, the joys of the moment and the bright promise of the future.  We endured sunshine, driving rain, beating hail and lashing winds of epic strength.

About the only thing we did NOT do -- was SLEEP!

          ----- Comatose collapses for brief periods do not count as true sleep -----

It was WONDERFUL!!

 

Pictures are uploading as I write this -- about 850 or so -- EXCLUDING the actual wedding --- Some of those will also be included, at a later time -- once I 'winnow out' the bulk of those too incriminating for public display...  biggrin biggrin biggrin

PIX should be here -- I even labeled them! biggrin Two cameras explains the incongruities of arraingment ... confuse confuse confuse

Dates were 16 April through 30 April.  The wedding, viewing desires of our travel companion and familial obligations / interactions heavily affected our routing and travel decisions so they may not make much sense from a truly  Tourist perspective.  We landed in Dublin about 10 AM on Tuesday, 17 April.

 Rental car was from Dan Dooley -- a Compact, Ford Focus-Class, Manual Transmission, for 13 days, for $257, Pre-paid.  I waived the CDW, etc, using my Bank of America World MasterCard.  I also bought a Supplimental, 12 month Excess Cover from HERE, for 49 GBP.  They didn't ask for my Coverage Letter (but I brought it, anyway!) there were minimal hassles about buying extra insurance and I was only charged for initial fuel -- 90 Euros.  They did NOT charge me the 25 Euro 'Handling Fee' for waiving the CDW AND the DCC impact was negated on return, when I received a $2 PROFIT on the Exchange Rate!!  biggrin biggrin

The Focus was a Diesel, got very good fuel economy and was ideally sized for three adult, US people with too much luggage (Wedding Attire -- Remember??? biggrin biggrin )? It was almost new and had negligable wear and tear.

Route Overview:

Day 1:  Airport to Bray, Wicklow, via Glencullen.  Side trip to Greystones.

Day2:  Bray to Arklow, via Wicklow town and the Coast Road.  Arklow to Glenndalough via Vale of Avoca.  Glendalough to Wexford via the Wicklow Gap, Baltinglass, Tullow and Enniscorthy.

Day 3: Wexford town to Hook Head, via Wellington Bridge, Tintern Abbey, and Fethard. Hook Head to Tramore, via Duncannon, Passage East (via Ferry).  Tramore to Midelton, via the Copper Coast Drive through Annestown, Bunmahon and Stradbally, then 'straight on' via the N25.

Day4, 5, 6: WEDDING -- But, on Day 6, drive from Midelton to Castle Townshen, via Drimoleague -- returning via Glandore, Union Hall and Clonakilty -- for MORE Wedding stuff.

Day 7: Drive to Mallow, park car at Train Station and head to Dublin via train.

Day 8: Round trip to airport via Airlink, return train to Mallow.  Drive to Mallow to Killarney via Millstreet.

Day 9: Macroom, for afternoon.

Day 10: Macroom for evening.

Day 11:  Tralee for evening via Dingle. Drove to Blennerville, Camp, Castlegregory and Bandon Point, then, long way to Tralee, via Connor Pass, Anascaul, Camp, Abbeydorney and Ballyduff.  Return to Killarney, late PM. 

Day12: Departed Killarney for Ardmore, via Millstreet, Macroom and Cloyne.

Day 13: Ardmore to Dublin, via Kells, Kilkenny, Timahoe and Port Laois.

Day 14: Return car, shuttle to airport for departure flight.

That's the bones of the trip ...

DETAILS to follow?????   biggrin  biggrin  biggrin  biggrin

Bob



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Bob,

Welcome back from yet another trip to Ireland. What number is it? I'm exhausted just reading it. You will need a few days (or weeks) to recover. But it sounds like a fun trip. Looking forward to more details to follow.

Michele

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DETAILS:  DAY 1:

We were travelers three -- my wife, her sister (hereafter referred to as SIL) and myself. 

We landed in Dublin about 10 AM on Tuesday, 17 April to grey skies on a cold, gusty day. The line at the Dooley counter was long and slow moving and we somehow ended up at the back of it ... Consequently, we had to wait for a second shuttle bus, as all those ahead of us completely filled the first one to come along ...

While waiting, I discovered that NEITHER of my Mobile phone SIM cards were active. 

Once we arrived at the Dooley lot, I was slightly disappointed to find my nearly brand-new, spotlessly unmarked, silver, Diesel, 2012 Ford Focus. I always feel a certain comfort from renting a vehicle that's already been "Baptized In Battle' -- under the assumption that one MORE scratch isn't likely to draw undue attention --- but, try though I might, this little beauty seemed to be totally blemish free!

FYI -- Dooley has changed their Vehicle Depot location to a Semi- 'On-Airport' lot shared with the other Car Hire companies -- though each has their own, separate facility and entrance. If anything, it's even harder to find as there has been NO great improvement in signage at the Dublin Airport ...

I drove down the Swords Road (Past the OLD Dooley lot) to get onto the M50, rather than negotiate the M1 / M50 Junction and the drove South, through the Barrier-Free Toll (Located between Junction (EXIT, to us US-types!) 6 and Junction 7 and took the Exit for the Junction with the R117, to Stepaside and continued South, to R116, to Glencullen, and

Johnnie Fox's Pub, for an excellent lunch.

It appeared that the sun had attempted to follow us from Florida -- but the Irish CLIMATE (remember the phrase: In Ireland, there is very little weather -- but MUCH climate) fought back -- Valiantly. The sun burned through the heavy clouds, giving us large stretches of blue sky for several long stretches of time -- interrupted, periodically by heavy, dark clouds and even, brief bursts of showers that mostly occurred whilst we were either driving, or indoors. Warmth, however, seemed to RARELY be included in the equation

After touring the many rooms (we ate in the one decorated with Chamber Pots -- Its THAT kind of place ) , we eye-balled the nearby Standing Stone . Then, we drove back on the R116, with a brief 'Drive By' for the Kilterman Ruined Church . We drove down through Enniskerry -- to avoid the M11 and to eyeball our alternate Accommodation choice of Ferndale House then continued on, into Bray, where we checked into our destination for the day, the Best Western Esplanade Hotel.

The Esplanade is an old hotel, nicely updated, with one of THE best locations you can imagine. Our Internet Booking Deal was Room Only -- a three bed Triple for 69 Euro, so can not speak as to their food offerings. I CAN, however say that I would recommend the hotel. It was clean, comfortable and seemed efficiently run, with friendly and helpful staff. Only noticeable quirk is that the car park is at the rear of the hotel and there is NO rear door access, so you have to walk all the way around to the front, once parked. There IS a front Set Down area, though, so at least you dont have to hump your luggage all that way.

While the ladies napped, I drove into town, visited a Paypoint dealer to settle the M50 Toll and dropped into both the Vodaphone Shop and Tesco to solve my Mobile phone issues. The Vodaphone account was quickly re-enabled and Topped Up, but the otherwise helpful clerk there plead ignorance about my Vodaphone AirCard confuse confuse 

At the Tesco shop, the helpful, but harried Customer Service Clerk spent about 20 minutes on the phone to reactivate my Tesco Mobile SIM and then sold me a 10 Euro Top Up. I was back to the Esplanade before discovering that the SIM was STILL inactive! I used the Vodaphone account for a quick call home, to let everyone know that all was well and sent a text to the Irish Cousins to advise same and say that we would call later.

It was about 3:30 by now and I was well and truly DONE. I took a quick, one hour collapse (nap)and then we headed out to explore. It seemed to cool and windy to chance a hike along the Cliff Walk and my companions ruled out a round-trip DART ride to Greystones, so we opted to drive there, instead.

Once there, I followed signs that led us to the harbor, where we discovered groups of rowers and fishermen plying their skills on and beneath a very impressive sea wall. After watch the rowers bravely exit the sheltered waters to challenge the rough Irish Sea beyond the sea wall, we chatted with a few anglers. The wind and cold finally drove us back toward the car park where we decided to chance the dubious recommendation from one of the fishermen that the lone, visible restaurant, Looked like it was probably good   confuse  biggrin  confuse

The place, The Beach House, was NOT good -- It was, in fact, MOST EXCELLENT -- and I highly recommend it to any who venture anywhere nearby! We lingered over our meals -- I enjoyed a hearty steak, cooked to perfection -- and had an enjoyable chat with the young girl who was our server. Ah, the JOYS of traveling during the off-season!!!!  biggrin  biggrin

By the time we left, it had grown well, and truly dark, so I cautiously drove back to th Esplanade, dropped the ladies near the front door, then parked the car. We went to sleep about 10:30.

It had been a long, hectic day -- but it had been a GOOD one.  biggrin

More to come ...

Bob



-- Edited by Itallian Chauffeur on Monday 7th of May 2012 10:26:29 PM

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Michele --

This makes #15.  Hoping to return in late September / early October for a visit to the Sligo area, to attend the O'Dubhda Clan Gathering (which is apparently only held every THREE years!? confuse confuse) -- among other options .

This was SIL's first visit to the SE -- she's traveled with us, before (Ireland -1999, 2002 and our Spring visit, last year-- as well as New England, in 2001 and NYC in 2011).  Wanted to 'Cram In' as much as possible for her short visit.  Good traveling companion, she.  We mesh well.

PLUS -- she pack lots and lots of 'Snacky Cakes' ... biggrin  biggrin  biggrin

Susan -- Dunno WHICH Terminal the Dooley counter is in but it WAS a long hike -- partly, Outdoors --- heading towards the Parking Garages.  Once we had secured our paperwork we went through some big glass doors and rode an elevator down a floor to a ground-level parking area, turned Left to clear the elevator structure / support wall and the Left again, onto a sidewalk that led to an access road.  I could see the SAS Radison Blu from there.  That's where we were picked up by the shuttle bus.

Hope that helps ???  confuse  confuse  confuse

Bob



-- Edited by Itallian Chauffeur on Tuesday 8th of May 2012 07:06:54 PM

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Bob,

Thanks for letting us know that Dooley has changed their depot at Dublin Airport. The last few times I've flown into Shannon and haven't yet used Terminal 2. I agree about the confusing signs at Dublin Airport. You would think they would get their act together since they almost force everyone to fly there now.

Michele

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Hi Bob -Great report so far!

Did the Dooley Airport counter move to the new terminal.Last Sept. it was still in the old terminal and was a hike with all our luggage and jet-lag.

Thanks 

Susan



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Bob:

I'm just now figuring out where I was going from the old Dooley lot. Now they have moved it?  Yikes.  smile

Bert



-- Edited by Bertrand on Friday 11th of May 2012 09:13:50 AM

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I would like to preface this entry with a caveat and an explanation --

The excuse: This trip and in particular, the first few days were MUCH more hectic and busy then my typical visits -- partly due to SILs Wish List and partly due to the Thursday afternoon Deadline for being in Cork.

How I typically plan for ANY visit: My usual guideline is to plan as if for TWO trips and then (to use my sons USMC adage), Adapt and Overcome. What that means, in simple English, is that I usually research an area via hints and suggestions from other posters comments, Micheles excellent guidebook and advices and assorted specialty websites, such as Megalithic Ireland, local tourism sites and sometimes, the Links pages attached to some of the accommodation websites. From these choices, I create a list of interesting sites to visit that usually include nearly everything nearby -- even though doing so would require two days time. Then, I calculate a route, with annotations for the assorted detours.

This way, based upon various factors -- we decide to skip a site, the weather isnt conducive to climbing a hill, or trekking through a field, were running late . Etcetera, etcetera I can modify the itinerary On The Fly.

The ADDED benefit is that I need must, invariably, Drop a goodly number of sites from the days agenda -- thereby virtually guaranteeing that we HAVE to RETURN at some future date ---

Day 2: While the ladies showered and shampooed, etc, I did a brief walk about of the strand, then returned to the room to emulate their good hygiene whilst they packed up. We quickly settled up and I drove the car around front ,so that we could load up our luggage more easily. The morning was cold, grey and blustery. We drove into town and located a little café near the Vodaphone shop that the desk clerk at the Esplanade had recommended and enjoyed a quick, inexpensive breakfast and then drove to the nearby Tesco so that I could buy a replacement SIM card for 3 Euro -- It seemed much simpler to do THAT, rather than re-attempting to activate my old one, since I had already purchased the 10 Euro Top Up.

From the Tesco, I drove us North towards the N11 Junction -- but I detoured West, driving through two close together Roundabouts to view the Fassaroe Cross. This one is St Valerys Cross , and is actually located IN Fassaroe -- though there are a number of Fassaroe Crosses scattered about Co. Wicklow. The St Valerys Cross location is namesake to the group. The cross sits along side the Roundabout on a small, raised pedestal and you park on the side of the road -- IN the Roundabout. NOT that doing so is a problem -- I think that I only saw one other car, the entire time that we were there!

After a few pix, I drove back to the N11 Junction and took it South, to the R750, through Wicklow town, then continued South, past Wicklow Head, along the coast, to Arklow. We stopped at the Wicklow Golf Club, parked and followed the path down to the small, stormy and rocky beach -- passing under cart bridges serving the course that laid out above and to either side of the walkway. Its a gorgeous spot. From there, we continued South and stopped again, to park in front of the locked entrance gate to the North Car Park for Brittas Bay. A goodly hike led us through the large car park, past the locked Public Toilet / Concession building to the pathway through the dunes, to one of the longest, largest pure sand beaches in all of Ireland. After a cool, windy romp, we returned to the car and continued following the coast South, into Arklow and turned onto the R747.

That road shadows the Avoca River, through Woodenbridge, where we turned onto the R752 and continued along the river, into Avoca. We turned off there, for a visit to the Woolen Mills and lunch. It was PERFECT timing, it turned out, as about 10 minutes after we arrived, the first of FOUR Tour Buses arrived chartered to Princess Cruise Lines !!! We enjoyed a leisurely lunch watch the hordes milling about, wrangling for seats and suitable bargains

Back on the road, we returned to the R752 and continued along the Vale of Avoca Drive. We stopped again, at The Meeting of the Waters for some photos and I pointed out the bullaun stone resting there. Our next stop was at the Glendalough Visitors Center, for toilet breaks -- and our first encounter with the rudest group of French students -- ever.

They had disgorged from a massive bus, just before we parked and they milled about, blocking every walkway and door, jabbering away, totally oblivious the any and everyone else trying to gain entry. VERY poor National Ambassadors, I would say. The icing on the cake came when two or three, who hovered about, blocking access to a trash can tossed their paper wrappers onto the ground!

With the sky growing darker, we opted NOT to tour the Visitors Center -- particularly since we couldnt see any way through the Invading Gauls -- so I drove down to the Entrance Gate and parked, in the small Car Park along the road to the Upper Lake. We set about exploring St Kevins Monastic site. After an hour or so spent in tranquil adoration, the French students invaded and we fled to the Upper Lake.

It cost 6 Euro to enter the Car Park and the ladies protested my wisdom to do so, but I was on a mission. On our very first visit to Ireland, in 199, SILs wish list included seeing a stone Ring Fort. Timing, weather, our locations and ignorance (on my part) had caused that wish to remain unfulfilled, the, AND in the two subsequent visits that she had accompanied us.

Megalithic Ireland said that there was a caher located just to the West of the Upper Lake -- and I was DETERMINED to find it! I asked the parking attendant where it was located, but he clearly didnt have a clue ???? And referred me to a map in the guard shack. I should point out that he was apparently POLISH and his grasp of English -- though certainly functional -- was less than extensive!

We parked at the far North West end of the car park and took the path from there to the lake. Sure enough, there it was, to our left -- surrounded by a scattering of OLD crosses. Its not a particularly big or impressive a structure -- but it was a genuine, recognizable Ring Fort! We dawdled for a while, enjoying the peace and serenity, but it was getting late and a large Tour Bus stopped, just outside the toll barrier and disgorged a horde of tourists -- apparently AVOIDING the entry charge, since they all walked in, sans vehicle !?!

Back on the road, we detoured back toward town in order to acquire a Diet Coke, some water and two 99s. I then drove us back out, past Riversdale House (where we Self-Catered last June) and onward, through the Wicklow Gap, to Hollywood. The weather kept alternating from blue skies and sunshine to grey, overcast and even short bursts of rain -- but the rain invariably came and went while we were driving and obligingly, always disappeared well before we stopped anywhere. It seemed to get worse as we headed North, or West -- and IMPROVE, whenever I pointed the Focus either South, or East????

Running behind schedule, I edited our itinerary -- so we didnt make it to Blessington, nor to a handful of megalithic sites that lay more-or-less along our line of travel. From Hollywood, I drove South, on the N81, all the way to Enniscorthy. Dropped for our list along THIS stretch, was Moone High Cross, Castledermot, Rathgall Stone Fort and the Castle and Round Tower, at Ferns We DID pause, briefly, in Baltinglass, to view the Abbey from across the river, but we didnt want to arrive in Wexford too tired (or too late) to enjoy our stay

After negotiating the traffic in Enniscorthy, eased onto the N11 and continued South, until reaching the R730 Junction, located just after crossing the River Slaney. I pointed out the imposing Faux Round Tower (built in the 1800s to commemorate the Rising of 98), the ancient bridge and location of The Irish National Heritage Park, but we passed them all by as we headed East, into Wexford town. We turned North and re-crossed the Slaney on the Harbor Bridge, following signs for the R741. Immediately after the end of the bridge is the entrance to Riverbank House Hotel and our accommodation for the night. I had booked another Triple, this one B&B, for 99 Euro.

The helpful and friendly desk clerk provided a map of the town, info on parking and recommended both an EXCELLENT dining option and verified that there was Live Music on, at a nearby pub!

We drove back across the bridge and into town. After a drive by of Selskar Abbey, I parked the Focus in a Car Park at a Dunnes and we walked two short block to the NE to The Yard. Great food, moderately priced amid interesting décor. Well worth a return. After dining, we made our way 2-3 short blocks SW to T. Morris for their Trad Session (every Tues, Weds, and Thurs). Tonights entertainment was a trio -- guitar, fiddle and flute -- true Trad performed for a mostly Local crowd! Most excellent. We arrived about 9:45 and stayed about two hours and then made our weary way back to the Riverbank, to sleep.

More to come ...

Bob



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Bob,

How was the Riverbank House Hotel? Did it include breakfast? Were things blooming yet? I always enjoy the Meeting of the Waters when the cherry trees are in bloom.

Michele

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Bob

As always I am finding your trip report informative and entertaining. We have not really spent any time in the Southeast - maybe next year.

I bought a Tesco mobile last year in Ireland (the Republic). Do you know if I would be able to buy a new SIM in Scotland this year and use the same phone?

Stewart



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Michele -- Riverbank was fine.  Had a small glitch with no hot water in the shower in the AM, but it also had a tub with a seperate, high-arched spigot, so were were able to shampoo by kneeling down -- seemed quicker and easier, rather than calling down and waiting for a repairman ...  aww

I would stay there again, but I MIGHT insist on checking the shower, first ... biggrin

It WAS B&B -- 99 Euro, for a Triple Room.

Stewart -- That's a tough call.  Tesco is a re-seller of other network airtime, but it is also a MONSTER UK chain.  I would say you have a 50/50 chance -- as it might depend upon what NETWORK they are contracted with, in Scottland, versus their Irish Network.

You could get the phone 'Unlocked' for about 10 Euro or so -- OR, you could -- if there IS a conflict, simply buy a NEW phone and SIM for as little as 20 Euro ---  OOPS!  I mean 18-20 GBP!!!  biggrin biggrin

Wish I could provide a more definitive answer -- maybe Tony will weigh in with more certainty ... confuse confuse

Bob



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Hi Bob,

Just wanted to say I am enjoying this trip report, as I always enjoy your others. I really appreciate the level of detail and your ever present willingness to help others. Plus I can live vicariously through all your trips. You are very lucky.

Thank you.

Erin

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Morning broke cool, but mostly clear. The ladies discovered the problem (and work around) with the Hot Water while I was out and about, so it seemed much easier to Go With The Flow (or, actually --To Go WHERE the Flow WAS ), rather than try to roust a Repairman and wait however long it might take to correct the problem.

We went for our included breakfast, which was pretty good, packed up and checked out. While I notified the desk clerk of our problem with the shower head, my wife noticed that Riverbank House Hotel, The Yard AND T. Morris Pub are apparently either co-owned or co-operatively affiliated

It doesnt change my opinion of any of them (Mostly, QUITE pleased), but I thought it did bear mention

We drove back across the bridge and down through town, along the Quay. I missed a turn somewhere, so I had a brief bit of trouble finding my way, at first.  confuse  confuse 

After about 10 or 15 minutes of floundering around, though, I was back on track (R733) and enroute towards our first destination. Just West of Wellingtonbridge, I stopped the car to have a smoke and examine a small, roadside church ruin and graveyard. As I was getting ready to return to the car, I actually took a GOOD look at our surrounds and was awestruck by the close proximity of Clonmines ! Pity that it rests on Private Property and is NOT accessible    furious furious furious

Motivated now, I detoured into Tintern Abbey -- even though it was not open for the season, yet. Still, you CAN walk the grounds and/or drive down to the old, multi-arch, stone bridge and then, explore the old church and grave yard -- which we DID

Just beyond Tintern, I turned South on the R734 and drove through Fethard, Templetown, Slade and then out to the Hook Head Lighthouse. LOTS of history out this way -- Bannow, the beach, where Strongbow first came ashore, the Tower Castle at Slade(a 1 Km detour) the ruined Monastic site/ church ruin that provided many years worth of Light keepers for Hook --- And then, there is the Lighthouse, itself -- the oldest, continuously operated lighthouse in the world!

We didnt do the Lighthouse Tour, this trip -- SIL was much more interested in scampering around on the rocks beyond the tower, snapping photos nearly continuously. Eventually, we tore ourselves away and resumed our drive -- following the coast North, past Loftus Hall, Duncannon and the picturesque Arthurstown, before stumbling upon the entrance to the Passage East Ferry . The fare was 6 Euro and the wait was less than 5 minutes. I doubt if the trip took any longer than that, either! There were only 3 cars on the West-bound voyage, but there must have been a dozen waiting to take the return trip.

Once ashore we chose to eschew Waterford ( both by Hook AND by Crooke!   biggrin  biggrin  biggrin ) and make a bee-line to Tramore -- bypassing the Harristown Megalithic Tomb while making our way to the R685.  cry

Once in Tramore, I followed signs toward the Harbour and parked on a side street jam-packed with eateries, Arcades and even, a carnival -- but, with the exception of one take-away and the Arcade, everything was closed. Dunno if it was because it was a Wednesday, that the time was only 1 PM, or that it was mid-April, but the nice folks operating the arcade directed us to a small café located up the road, near town center., called the Vee Bistro . The place was quiet -- it being mid-day / mid-week / the off-season, and all.   biggrin biggrin biggrin

The food was excellent -- as was the service.

When the Manager (I think?) overheard me asking our waitress how long it would take to drive to Dungarvan, via the Copper Coast Road, she came over to help. I explained that we needed to be in Midleton no later than 4 PM, but that we wanted to drive the Coast Road, if possible, she assured us that we had adequate time. She also emphatically recommended that we do so!

She emphasized that she realized it might sound self-serving, but she firmly believed that the Copper Coast Road was one of THE finest scenic drives -- ANYWHERE! She then STRONGLY encouraged us to follow some of the STRAND lanes seaward, along the way, advising that they would seldom entail a detour of much more than a mile.

Give that woman a cigar! She werent wrong! biggrin biggrin biggrin biggrin

Highlights: The beach, just beyond Fennor, Annestown-- though we by-passed the Castle and the promontory fort, Dunbrattin Head, Bunmahon, Ballyvoyle Head and Stradbally -- oh, Stradbally could make you weep!    no no no no

I had known about St James Wood from my frequent perusal of DAFT -- but I had honestly forgotten its location, until I turned uphill from the Town Square and stumbled upon its desolate beauty. I jumped from the car and wandered about for several minutes, examining the place in all its weathered, forlorne elegance. I told my wife then, that if I should win the Lottery, I am determined to purchase the entire development! She laughed -- but

It was a NERVOUS laugh    wink  wink  biggrin  yawn  wink  wink

Back on the road, I beat a hasty return to the N25, by-passing Dungarvan, with its Abbey and Castle and hurried into Midleton. Along the way, we phoned one of the Cousins, who arranged to meet us. I think the drive took about an hour. Once that was accomplished, she led us to our Self-Catering apartment that they had secured for us, at The Paddocks Holiday Village. We settled in quickly, as there was NO time to waste.

The Great, FOUR-Day Wedding was about to begin!

More to come

Bob



-- Edited by Itallian Chauffeur on Wednesday 16th of May 2012 10:06:41 PM

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Thanks Bob for the info on the Dooley counter.It sounds like even more round-about then last year.

Enjoying your report!

Susan



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Bob,

I'm enjoying the ride! Agree completely about the Copper Coast, especially when exploring all the beaches along the way. I love that little flowery cottage in Annestown. It is a pity about the ghost estate of all those lovely, empty thatched houses in Stradbally. I had a walk about there and got some nice photos. But what a shame no one lives there.

Let the wedding begin!

Michele

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Our apartment at The Paddocks was a two bedroom (1 double, 1 twin) ground-floor, handicap accessible (including a wet-room shower), that had a gas fireplace in the living room and a dishwasher and washer/dryer combo in the kitchen. Floors are wood in the bedrooms and living rooms and tile, everywhere else. There are two multi-unit buildings that face each other across a large parking area and a second area, of detached houses, as well. I would guess most of the units are 4-5 years old. Nearby is a large Horse barn / arena -- hence, the name.

NOT a small place.

I managed to have a brief conversation with the owner/builder. He told me that his business model calls for staging 2-3 large events (either Long Weekend, or Full week) at the arena and subsequently, filling the Holiday Homes because of that. Such an event had recently taken place (late March-early April), he said -- and done JUST that..

It was a small, urban cluster of buildings -- WELL and truly 'Out In The Country' -- access via a L-O-N-G driveway, off a small crossroad between two small roads- the R626 and the R634! As the crow flies, it was probably only two miles to Midleton town center -- but as the roads go -- it SEEMED more like Twenty  confuse confuse !

Didnt really spend enough time there (an Understatement, if there ever was one! biggrin  biggrin  biggrin  biggrin) to properly judge the place and I honestly dont know what our four nights cost as the Cousins booked it -- but with NO nearby (read walking distance) pubs or major attractions, I dont believe it would have much Tourist appeal   confuse    confuse    confuse

BUT, NOW -- The Wedding -- Day One:

After a quick orientation and wash up, we departed The Paddocks to head to the Brides Parents House. Trying to Orient myself for the numerous impending trips, I searched out the route to the R626, since we had arrived from off the R634.  After a couple of false starts / wrong turns, we were heading North on the R626, winding along side of and crossing (Again and AGAIN!) the Owennacurra River. The countryside is hilly and heavily forested -- reminding me very much of driving on the sun-dappled, tree-shrouded, back roads in Upstate New York and New England.

smile   Very picturesque. Very pretty. Very Tranquil and Restful.  smile

We did a Drive By of the Lisgoold Church and arrived at our destination about 6:30.  We believed that we were a attending a small, family Get Together and so, had dressed casually.

We were Wrong!  no  no

Apparently, it is a Custom for family, neighbors and friends (and friends of friends!) to Drop In to the Brides Parents House, on the night before the wedding. And, apparently, Irish women deem any event as sufficient justification to dress as Elegantly as possible. Thankfully (for ME), Irish men seem to only deem actual weddings as sufficient cause to require Dressy attire My khaki pants and collared shirt placed me firmly on the dressier side of the male guest -- but my wife and SIL felt decidedly Under-dressed. Other than them feeling some-what self-conscious, though, it didnt really matter to anyone else   smile

The get-together was more like an Open House, rather than a true party. Some people came and went fairly quickly, while others may NEVER have left, for all that I know. biggrin biggrin biggrin  There was an abundance of food and beverages -- mostly, tea, coffee, sodas and beer and people wandered about the house, migrating from one conversation cluster to another. There were, perhaps a dozen Cousins there and we caught up on life events that had transpired since we saw them last, in June, and SILs last visit, about a year ago.

We started making polite noises about leaving, somewhere around 9:30, or 10:00, suggesting that the Bride and her parents would need some sleep before their big day -- but the Cousins dismissed that notion entirely. They assured us that people would continue to come and go, WELL into the night.

FYI -- the Bride and her brides maids were spending the night and had scheduled a Team of hair and make up people to arrive about 7:30 AM, to prep the wedding party for the 1 PM wedding! Apparently, Sleep is NOT an option!  confuse   biggrin  biggrin    confuse

I think that we finally managed to depart about 1:30, but it MAY have been after 2, before I finally drove the Focus back over the mountain past the Lisgoold church and turned South, onto the Picturesque, Pretty, Peaceful and Tranquil R626.

While ALL of those adjectives MIGHT be appropriate and accurate in the waning hours of daylight -- NONE of them are --- on a cold, dark night -- circa 2 AM!!!!  blankstare  blankstare  blankstare

There are VERY few street lights and directional signage in most of Ireland -- and absolutely NONE, in the vicinity of our location. Likewise, visual cues that seemed so readily obvious, in day light, have a nasty habit of vanishing, once the sun goes down!  disbelief  disbelief  disbelief  disbelief

It made for an INTERESTING drive.  furiousfuriousfurious

We finally made it to bed -- about 3:30. 

More to come

Bob



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Bob,

Now you know why I always suggest not driving at night in Ireland! 

Michele



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The actual Wedding Day -- Friday, Day two -- broke under questionable skies, undecided as to if it should burn off, or just surrender and become an all-day deluge. We opted to think positive thoughts and EXPECT blue skies and fluffy white clouds. It was to turn out that the Power Of Positive Thinking would win out -- for the MOST part

The Wedding ceremony was scheduled to begin at 1 PM and we arrived to a half-empty church, about 12:40. By the designated time, however, the church was filled to the rafters (approx 300 people -- the OFFICIAL count was for 285 at the reception) and the service lasted about an hour. Another 30 minutes or so passed outside the church as the bride, groom and parents formed a Receiving Line at the door. Perhaps it should be called a Departing Line???? Though cool, the skies were partly cloudy, with large patches of clear, blue sky -- though, usually, dark clouds invariably hovered about the periphery.

After milling about for a bit, the Wedding Party departed -- heading off to some pre-selected, photogenic site, to take the traditional, staged, wedding party pix. Those of us remaining, were left with simple choices -- either head West, to the Reception venue -- or a few hundred feet East -- to the nearest Pub! As tempting as the pub sounded, the ladies and I opted to follow the majority of guests, since it would make finding the hotel that much easier which means that we only got lost ONCE!!!  cry  cry

In MY defense, the car that I was following turned out to be driven by a fellow from NYC!   confuse  confuseEnroute, we encountered to brief rain showers -- and even a minute or two of hail! -- but, by the time we reached our destination, the sun had pushed the clouds back from overhead, once again.  smile smile

Maryborough House sits atop Maryborough Hill, just South West of Cork city, in the suburb of Douglas. The complex, combining newer extensions to a Great House originally built in the Early 1700s, sits on approximately 30 manicured acres. I had booked a triple room for the night, at 65 Euro Per Person, B&B, anticipating that returning to our Free lodgings in Midelton might prove problematical., given the anticipated duration of the Reception.

The Registration Desk is at the rear of the main floor of the original building. Nearby was a door that led outdoors, to the rear garden. Abutting the West end of the building, there was a VERY large, multi-sectioned, canopied Pavilion, replete with sidewall curtains. Within, were numerous seating areas and, at one end, a complete, fully stocked and equipped bar. Servers wandered about, carrying trays of Champaign and finger foods. At any given time, I would guess that there were between 120-150 people Under Canopy. The remainder of the Guests stood about the Garden, or sat in some of the myriad of areas available indoors.

About 5:30, an employee did a walk through, Ringing The Bell -- signaling that it was time to be seated, for dinner and everyone abandoned the Pavilion and made our way to the Banquet Room.

We were treated to a choice of four meals -- a beef, a fish, a chicken and a vegetarian on offer -- replete with a meal-appropriate starter, an acorn squash soup, a palette cleansing sorbet, the main course and a choice of desert. In addition, there were sides of mixed veg, garlic potatoes and some sort of escalloped potato, as well. While we awaited delivery of our meal, we were thoroughly entertained by a Tipperary born, Italian Chef who worked the crowd, telling jokes and singing Traditional Italian songs -- Think Dean Martin, Perry Como and Frank Sinatra

Plates were cleared away about 9:30 !! ! Followed on by toasts, speeches and First Dances, as a live band began to play. About midnight, the band packed it in, the lights came on -- and people were encouraged to assault some large tables, piled high with burgers, fried chicken and Fish and Chips --- because, God Knows --- somebody -- SOMEWHERE -- MUST be Famished!!!!?????!!!!

About 12:30, the lights dimmed and a DJ began spinning discs. Somewhen, during the next few hours, time out was taken to perform the customary rituals concerning cake cutting and garter and bouquet retrieval and redistribution. By about 3:30 AM, I was feeling slightly ill, so I called it a night and headed upstairs to our room. My wife and SIL hung in, until about 4:30, when the Hotel Staff began to quietly ease the revelers OUT of the Banquet Hall -- and INTO the Residents Bar!! Im told that many had a Grand Time there -- for another couple of hours.

That much is all hearsay, though. We slept the deep sleep of the Righteous, until a little after 10:00 AM -- realizing that we had only an hour and a half for the three of us to shower, dress, pack up and vacate

Time was wasting. We needed to hurry, if we were to have any hope of sneaking in an afternoon nap!

Because, after all --- the REAL party was scheduled to start at 6:00 PM!

biggrin     biggrin     biggrin     doh doh doh doh    biggrin    biggrin    biggrin

More to Come

Bob



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By the way -- I added a few more pix to a public Set titled Wedding Share that showw some scenes at the Church and the Maryborough House.

They can be accessed via the same link listed in my First post ...

Bob



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Day Three of the Wedding -- Saturday, 21 April:

After checking out, we decided to search out a suitable gift for the cousins that had secured our accommodations at the Paddocks (among many other items of kindness and generosity), so we checked out the Maryborough Houses VERY impressive Spa facilities and purchased two gift cards that would offer a (hopefully) relaxing respite from the hectic, Wedding Frenzy. The Cousins seemed impressed (and a trifle scandalized --- at the expense ), so we think it was appreciated????  smile   smile

Having missed out on our included breakfast due to our silly, old-fashioned insistence upon actually sleeping, we went into Douglas, in search of lunch. Quite by accident, we stumbled upon the

Amicus Café & Restaurant, just off the East Village area. The side street is filled up with new, modern buildings, but the main area is chock-a-block with nicely restored, turn of the century ( Late 1800s, to be specific ) buildings filled up with every imaginable type of shop, Restaurant and Pub. Seems like a really nice area.

Food and service at Americus were both Top-Notch and we toyed with the idea of adding a Gift Certificate from there, for the Cousins to use, après-spa. We decided that might be a BIT too much dictatorial --- You know -- Go HERE. Get a massage. Do the Spa. Eat HERE!) -- so we didnt. cry cry

Turns out, it is actually one of their FAVORITE cafes! Ah, well I DEFINITELY recommend the place (and presume that their OTHER site -- Paul Street, City Center) is also worth a stop.

While we were sitting at our seats by the front window, the overcast sky gave way to first rain -- and then, a short, but significant down pouring --- of HAIL! They were pea sized and after a few minutes, the accumulation was visibly significant. Yet, by the time lunch was finished and we were ready to depart, not only were they all gone, but the streets were mostly dry -- and we were treated to Blue skies and sunshine!

Go figure!  confuse   confuse    confuse    confuse

We returned to Midelton and did some obligatory shopping, before returning to The Paddocks. We arrived at the brides parents house about 6:30. It is a LARGE, two-storey, that is shaped like a backward L. A drive circles around to the sheltered, paver covered side-yard. The upright of the L is formed by an extension to the original house that includes a eat-in kitchen, a family/game room and a two and ½ car garage -- but the bay closest to the house was converted into a Back Kitchen with an adjoining, full bathroom. Between the garage bays is a staircase to a second floor that has two spare rooms.

In the garage bay that was nominally STILL a garage, a FULL bar was set up, facing the open overhead door. Just beyond it was side entry into a REALLY large Marque (tent) replete with windowed side curtains. About half the floor area included a raised wooden dance floor, while the other half contained tables and chairs. Passing through the other side entrance placed you in the cobbled side-yard, where a 10 X 10 canopy covered a commercial grill and two basket deep fry cooker. Two employees were cranking out massive volumes of burgers, chicken and fish and chips. A ways from that, a large fire pit was set up -- encircled by chairs.

FYI -- For any familiar with the history of my Trip Reports, the Marque was the SAME from the infamous 40th Birthday Parties of 2004 and 2005 -- Waste Not / Want Not! It is at LEAST 30 X 60 and holds a LOT of sitters and dancers!  biggrin  biggrin  biggrin  biggrin

I would guesstimate the Head Count was right around 200. Once again, MOST of the women dressed as if for a formal party -- whereas, the men generally chose to abandon all pretext of 'dressy' attire.  biggrin

There was MUCH food and drink consumed. There was laughter and tears and excitement -- but NO drama. A DJ set up his equipment about 8 PM and I helped him load up some (but NOT all) of it -- around 2:30 AM!

We left, shortly thereafter, but with the drive home in the dark,   furious  furious and all, it was about 3:15 or 3:30 before we crawled into bed. There were probably still more than 50 guests when we left -- Dunno how the Irish do it!

confuse     confuse     confuse     confuse     confuse     confuse     confuse

More to come ...

Bob



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Bob,

What a wonderful wedding! Now people will believe me when I tell them to be prepared for a marathon at Irish weddings. Sounds like a grand time despite the lack of sleep. I'm off to peruse your photos.

Michele

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Bob,

What page are the wedding photos on?

Michele

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A FEW Wedding Photos here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/itallian_chauffeur/sets/72157629829878082/

 

Bob



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Wedding Day 4 ; Sunday, 22 April:

I found myself WIDE awake (!) at 8 AM  furious  furious  furious  furious    ??? So, there was nothing for it, but to rise quietly and head into town. There was another planned GTG at the Brides Parents scheduled for the evening, but SIL had expressed an interest in visiting The Grandmothers village of Drimoleague and today was the only possible day to do so.

Once in Midelton, I drew off some Euros from the ATM, did a leisurely drive around -- Orienteering -- and then waited patiently for the Tesco to open, at 9 AM. Since we would be making our obligatory Cemetery Visits, I purchased three bunches of flowers, along with a few incidental supplies -- like soda and Snackee Cakes -- and then meandered on back to the Paddocks.

When I returned, the ladies were sitting in the living room, half asleep still and were fairly quick to give up on the idea of making it to Drimoleague (about a 2 hour drive) for 12:00 Mass. As it was, we barely managed to shower, dress and hit the road much before 11:15   biggrin  biggrin

We followed the N25 into the Dunkettle Roundabout ( where it merges with the N8) and followed through, to the Jack Lynch Tunnel. Once through, I followed the South Ring Road through to the N71 / Bandon Road, where I turned onto the R586, toward Dunmanway.

FYI -- There is MAJOR construction taking place at the Kinsale Road, Sarsfield Road AND Bandon Road Roundabouts! Im told that the PLAN is to add Flyovers -- so that, at SOME future date, the South Ring Road will be continuous highway -- and that the only need to negotiate a Roundabout would be if you Exited the Ring Road FIRST -- If, for example, you wished to shop at the Wilton Mall, for example It will make driving AROUND Cork City MUCH easier .

We visited the Church in Drimoleague, as well as one cemetery each, in Cork City and Drimoleague and showed SIL around the Cousins Weekend House, before making our way down to Skibbereen, where we stopped for a late lunch. I parked in the Car Park behind the Super Value and we ate a pleasant meal at on of the nearby pubs. The entrance was just to the left of the Super Value and the meal, service and ambiance was quite good, but Ive honestly forgotten the critical details, because just after leaving, I drove by the ruins of the late, Great, Church Restaurant-- only to discover that it had Risen from the Ashes -- like the phoenix!!!!    confuse  furious  furious  confuse 

Havent eaten there for a few years (since just before the fire, in fact) but If it is HALF as good as I remember, it is a MUST visit!  biggrin  biggrin

Back on the road, I headed South and East, on the R596, toward Castletownshend, in search of Knockdrum Fort, the Three Fingers and, of course, the village, itself. After stopping in at the harbor, we had trouble following the directions on the referenced website printout -- as the only reasonable interpretation lead us to a CLOSED gate -- prominently signed with a LARGE -- NO PARKING --- DO NOT BLOCK GATE warning. There was NO where else to park, except for a school and church, SEVERAL hundreds of yards away.  confuse  confuse  confuse

Determined, I returned to the village and entered Egon Ronay pub and restaurant - Mary Anne's. I purchased a couple of sodas and the ladies visited the rest rooms, while I chatted with the barman about my dilemma. He said that he knew EXACTLY where I was referring to; that it WAS, indeed, the correct place and that it would be FINE to go ahead and park there! He then rather sheepishly admitted that he had always MEANT to visit Knockdrum, but had just never found the time!!!  hmm  hmm

Somewhat assuaged, we returned to the pull-off, only to discover that the gate was now WIDE OPEN! Perhaps the barman had telephoned ahead, or the farmer had spotted our confused, tentative start-and-stops??? In any event, my wife remained with the car, should it need to be moved and SIL and I trekked up the path (Laneway) to search out the ring fort. We turned of the pathway and climbed directly up the steep hill -- dodging stones, cow pies and bushes -- until we reached the top. From there, we had magnificent views of the coast to the South East. Behind us, on another hill across the road, to the North, were the Three Fingers -- tall, thin remainders (there were originally FIVE) of a stone row, or alignment dating from Neolithic times. To the West, across along field that sloped uphill, stood a long, dry-stone wall along the ridgeline. Surely, I thought, that must be the elusive ring fort?  confuse  confuse   confuse    confuse

It was -- and it was NOT! What it was, was an OUTER wall, of a multi-vallated stone fort.

A little history -- and general information on Ring Forts:

From Wikipedia : In Irish language sources they are known by a number of names: ráth (anglicized rath), lios (anglicized lis; cognate with Cornish lis, "court"), caiseal (anglicized cashel), cathair (anglicized caher or cahir; cognate with Welsh caer, Breton ker) and dún (anglicized dun or doon; cognate with Cornish din).[2][3] The ráth and lios was an earthen ringfort; the ráth being the enclosing bank and the lios being the open space within.[2][3] The caiseal and cathair was a stone ring fort.[2][3] The term dún was usually used for any stronghold of importance, which may or may not be ring-shaped.[2]

MORE:

A Stone fort or ringfort is an early medieval farmstead enclosed by a roughly circular drystone wall or earthen bank. Sometimes more than one bank or wall is present, giving rise to the labels uni-vallate, bi-vallate and tri-vallate (denoting one bank or wall; two Banks or walls etc). Though the name includes the element "fort", these dwelling-places were not designed for defence: rather the role of the bank or wall was to give shelter and security to the family, its livestock and their possessions. The scale and complexity of the bank(s) or wall(s) may also have served as an indicator of the occupier´s status, much in the same way as the size of one´s front garden is an index of wealth in our own society.

In ringforts, the space enclosed by the bank or wall ranges from 20m to 60m (60-100 ft). Today, all that is generally visible at ringforts are the enclosing banks or walls: the original houses and outbuildings in the interior were most built of perishable materials (wood, wattle, straw). However, there is generally an entrance gap (usually on eastern side), and occasionally, as at Caherconnell, the remains of buildings and/or souterrains (subterranean refuges) are visible in the interior.

The ringfort is the most common field monument in the island of Ireland. A recent count by Matthew Stout calculated that there are at least 45,000 examples. Their distribution is widespread, generally preferring well-drained lowland locations and avoiding peatlands and uplands. In the western parts of Ireland, where stony soils and rock outcrops are plentiful, large numbers of ringforts were built of stone (Stone Fort) (hence "caher") rather than earth (hence "rath").

Only about 250 Irish ringforts have so far been subjected to archaeological excavation, among them the Stone fort shown below at Cahercommaun in the burren. The radiocarbon determinations from these excavations are remarkably consistent, indicating that the main period of ringfort construction and use was from AD c.500 to c.1000. However, as the majority of the ringforts excavated to date are from eastern parts of Ireland, these dates may not represent a complete picture. Structural and documentary evidence from the west of Ireland suggest that ringfort occupation if not construction continued well into late medieval times (13th -15th C.) in places like the Burren.

Once we reached the wall, THAT observation became more readily apparent -- for beyond us, upon the previously obscured high point of the hill, lay the central edifice of Knockdrum! Following the wall Northward (downhill) we encountered an electrified fence and an intersecting stone wall -- beyond which, existed a steep, modern-looking set of steps. After negotiating those obstacles, we followed the steps up, and finally approached the entrance.

It truly IS a sight to behold. While not structurally as impressive as the massive structures such as Grianne of Alliach in Donegal, Staige Fort in Kerry, or even, Caherconnell, in the burren, perhaps -- the construction viewed from atop the hill, IS truly amazing. Dunno if they located the fort to take advantage of the naturally-occurring ridges and swales, or, if they actually CONSTRUCTED some, or all of them. In EITHER case, the sitting is a masterful piece of engineering. Ill let the web site and the pictures fill you in on the details, though.

Also from the top, we could plainly see and understand the MUCH easier (and direct route), which we had blindly ignored. Returning to the steps, we followed them down to the end and then followed the narrow, relatively flat path to the East -- which gradually widened, until it became the Laneway from which we had started! We had merely turned up, WAY too soon! To give you an idea, my SIL and I had spent about an hour on our excursion. Upon our return, she insisted that my wife go for a look and I waited at the car while they did so. They were back, after only about 30 minutes -- having taken the easier, more direct route, in BOTH directions.

We did NOT visit the Three Fingers -- the field between us and them was heavily populated by cows and the print out that I had brought along cautioned that rather Frisky bullocks were often present -- so we opted to enjoy them -- from afar

It was now about 3:30, or thereabout, so we opted to return to Midelton. I decided to follow the N71 back, rather than retrace our route, to let my SIL enjoy the semi-coastal drive -- including the one lane bridge between Glandore and Union Hall, and the swans along the bay at Rosscarbery, although time being an element we skipped Drombeg and a few other favored spots ...

After a brief stop into the Paddocks, we returned to the Brides Parents house for our FINAL Wedding Get-Together -- a MUCH smaller affair consisting of perhaps 15-20 people. It was an opportunity to unwind, to REALLY visit with mostly family. As such, it is the type of visit that we tend to cherish the most -- Catching Up . After making plans for some impromptu meet-ups, the following week, we reluctantly departed about 11:30 PM, as we had to get back to the Paddocks, to Pack Up. The plan was to head to Dublin in the AM (we had decided that we needed to leave by 7:30 -- at the LATEST), so I wanted to have the BULK of the packing done, before bed. My head hit the pillow, about 1:30 AM!

Ah, Sleep -- Sweet, Wonderful, Sleep I remember you well -- as if, from a dream !

More To Come:

Bob



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Bob,

Thanks for the road update. It will be nice to be able to easily circumnavigate Cork without getting sucked in. Thanks for the reminder about never underestimating the locals for proper knowledge of whats' going on in the area. Glad you finally found the ring fort.

Those were some cars at the wedding!

Michele

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Monday, 23 April:

We rose about 6:00 AM. It was cold, dark and drizzly / misty. I had purchased train tickets for our trip to Dublin, online, at 10 Euro each, for pick up at the Mallow Station. We could have departed from Midelton, but the connection time at Cork Kent seemed a bit excessive and I really didnt want to park a luggage-loaded rental car overnight, at Cork Kent. Besides, upon our return from Dublin, my wife and I had an apartment booked for four nights, in Killarney. So, after breakfast, showers and last minute packing and clean up, we headed out about 7:40. We followed the N25 into the Dunkettle Roundabout, where we headed into Cork city on the N8. Unlike previous trips, I managed NOT to miss the North Ring turnoff -- so we actually avoided the Grand, Downtown Tour -- and connected with the N20 on the North edge of the city. It was at about that point, that the early morning mist / rain burned away.  smile

We arrived at the Mallow train station about 9:15. I retrieved our tickets from the kiosk machine by entering our Reservation number. I had pre-purchased them, on-line, as early as possible (28 days prior) for 10 Euro each. There is also a 2 or 3 Euro, Handling Fee, but it is per transaction, NOT per ticket. The train station had a few vending machines, a small shop and a decent sized, heated waiting room. There are two track landings at Mallow and the are connected by a raised pedestrian bridge, but there are elevators at either side of the elevated cross-over that are handy for those with large, or heavy, luggage, or for those that might have difficulty with stairs.

Our train departed promptly at 9:55 and made minimal stops. The skies were cold and gray in Mallow, but grew gradually clearer as we moved east-ward along our route. We arrived at Dublin Heuston nearly Dead-On our scheduled, 12:20.

Exiting the station through the Main, North exit finds you facing the main, Bus and Luas To the left is a bridge that crosses the Liffy and 100 yards or so to the right after crossing, is the

Aisling Hotel. I had booked us into a large Triple room, pre-paid, for 103.5 Euro, room only (No Breakfast). I had intended to drop off our luggage and move on, but our room was ready, so we settled in and THEN headed out.

Just East of the Aisling, about equal distance to Heuston Station, is the Luas Stop for Collins Barracks and Croppies Acre. From that stop, we rode the Luas to Abbey Street and proceeded to walk, from there. We walked down OConnell Street and re-crossed the Liffy. We ate lunch at a pleasant, but unremarkable café (the name of which escapes me) and then meandered down Grafton, into Saint Stephens Green, exiting via the East Side Gate near the statue to Lord Ardilaun . From there, we wandered along back streets to Saint Patricks Cathedral and down, from there, to Christchurch, where we once again came across a large contingent of French students that were no more polite than those we encountered earlier in our trip   furious furious  furious

From there, Temple Bar beckoned -- and we visited MOST of the Usual Suspects   biggrin  biggrin -- The Temple Bar, Oliver St John Gogartys , The Auld Dubliner and one or two others. A couple of places had live music, so we lingered at those, until the sets ended. SIL soon discovered that finely poured Guinness and Touristy bars are mutually exclusive concepts -- but she had Great Fun in the lesson!

With evening upon us, I led our little troop onto Wellington Quay and headed West, to the Brazen Head. We lingered there for close to an hour, chatting with some Yanks at a nearby table and then re-crossed the Liffy to walk into Smithfield. It was too late for the tour and we were a bit Pubbed-Out, which is a pity, because I had really wanted to visit the Cobblestone -- but, that will need to wait for another day   biggrin

We reboarded the Luas and returned to Collins barracks and walked back to the Aisling, with dusk approaching. We had dinner in the bar -- finishing about 10 PM, as SIL struck up a conversation with a couple from Australia that were sitting nearby. Then, it was upstairs, to allow SIL to repack and organize for her early departure.

Tuesday, 24 April:

SILs return flight was for 9 AM. We rose EARLY and walked to Heuston Station, where the three of us caught the 6:30 747 Airlink Bus to the Airport. The Route offers an excellent Mini-Tour of Dublin (but without the snappy banter of the Hop-On/Hop-Off ), as it meanders out to the Port and then to the Airport. It was a pleasant ride -- until we entered the Port Tunnel   cry cry

I should explain -- My wife is NOT a Happy Traveler -- which, I realize sounds rather strange, given our 15 visits to Ireland -- but, she gets antsy in a car, whenever traffic is heavy. She is exceedingly uncomfortable on planes, particularly during take offs and landings and she gets quite panicky, in the event of encountering turbulence.  doh doh

BUT She is TERRIFIED by tunnels!  ashamed ashamed   It is the sad reason why I shall probably NEVER take the Chunnel Train -- even though my wife ADORES train travel!

The Dublin Port Tunnel is QUITE long. It is also rather Heavily Traveled (See #1, above). What made the Tunnel traverse worse, though, was the Certain Knowledge -- that she and I would need RETURN, via that self-same Tunnel -- once SIL had been dispatched!  doh doh

Once at the Airport, the lines were relatively short and moved quickly. SIL was processed we escorted her to Security, where we parted ways, after much hugging and thanks and laughter. SIL headed on her way and my wife and I reboarded the Airlink, for our return to Heuston Station and the hotel. I managed to distract her with conversation, long enough to minimize her Tunnel Moment, so our return trip went relatively smoothly.

Upon our return to the Aisling, about 8:30, we purchased breakfasts and then returned to our room. My wife took a brief nap (about an hour), while I set out to wander, as our Return train reservation wasnt until Noon. We checked out, just about 11 and eased over to Heuston, did a bit of shopping in one of the shops and then boarded, for our return to Mallow. We quickly discovered that our Rain Deflecting Magic actually belonged to SIL!   confuse confuse

More To Come HONEST!



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Bob

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Bob,

I think we are ready for a downpour! How was the Aisling Hotel? 

Michele



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"Ireland Expert"  Michele Erdvig

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Michele -- We REALLY enjoyed the Aisling, as its location was perfect for our plans, by being SO close to Heuston Station AND the Luas.  I'm told that the area can be a bit "dodgy" during the 'Wee Hours', so it might not suit everone.  Hotel has been recently redone and everything was clean, comfy and seemed very well run.

For those really BRAVE Souls, they also have an attatched Parking Garage!

Bob



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More 24 April:

     The train ride was another pleasant interlude, passing through several energetic down-pours and bright stretches. The old vehicles seem mostly all replaced with the sleek, newer / greener modern vehicles. A Food trolley works up and down the isles and there is a snack bar located on board, as well. The Free Wi-Fi is also a nice touch, too. In short, the train is an excellent way to travel, when touring isnt the objective .

     We arrived at Mallow about 2:15 PM, during a respite from the rain. After retrieving the car (Unmolested during our absence), it was an easy exit onto the N20 South, just North of the Round about / Intersection with the N72 -- where we took the 3rd exit and headed West, to Killarney.

     Our Self-catering booking had stated a Check-In time of 4 PM, so we detoured onto the R583 for a late lunch at

Nibbles Food Emporium, in our All-Time Favorite Irish Town -- Millstreet.

     After lunch (and a brief stop into the newly refurbished, St Patricks Church ) we exited town via the R582. After rejoining the N72 in Rathmore --where we stopped again, at St

Josephs Catholic Church to revisit the site where my wifes Great-Grandparents were married, in 1865. By now, it was about 4 PM and it was beginning to rain again. It was light and tentative, at first, but by the time we reached the outskirts of Killarney, it had turned into a veritable DELUGE!

     Our booking was for 4 nights at The Courtyards, for 280 Euro, prepaid. I had phoned, in transit, for directions and was advised to call again, upon arrival, so that the agent could meet us. It was ABSOLUTELY Pouring, by now, so I maneuvered into a vacant parking space on East Avenue Road, just opposite the entrance to the Railway Station, then made the call. We each grabbed umbrellas and made a dash to the building -- arriving just in time to enjoy a brief respite from the rain. Our agent met us, just as the rain transformed into a heavy mist.

     The Courtyards occupies a large, 3 storey, L shaped building, sandwiched between The Augustine Friary and Lewis Road. The ground level is occupied by Commercial units -- assorted shops, such as a Dominos Pizza, a Chinese Restaurant, a Mace and LOTS of vacant units, that either face the Courthouse (across the road -- with its fine, new sculpture of an Irish Red Deer Stag ), or an L shaped, brick-cobbled, pedestrian alley-way, replete with occasional benches, that bisects the corner formed by the meeting of Lewis Road and Park Road. At the apex of the L is a locked, glass door, that is controlled by entering a 4 digit code into a keypad. Once inside, an elevator takes you up to the appropriate floor. Our unit was a 1 bedroom, Penthouse that faced Park Road. It was rectangular, in shape.

     You enter, at the center, into a large entry. To the left, a short hallway contained two closets -- one of which was large enough to contain a rolling, fold-away bed! The hall leads you to a large, tiled bathroom that included a whirlpool tub and a separate, glass-walled shower. To the right, as you face the bathroom door, is the door to the queen- bedded bedroom that had floor-to-ceiling, multi-door and drawered wardrobe. The entire wall opposite the entrance was glass -- including a five or six foot wide, sliding door that led to the balcony. The apartment was very nice, very clean and quite comfortably furnished and equipped -- including a dish washer and a Washer/Dryer.

     To the right of the entry, a door leads to an L shaped, kitchen, dining and living, Great Room -- half of its outer wall was like-wise built of glass and glass door, that ALSO connected to the balcony. The balcony was about 4 feet deep and it ran the entire length of the apartment. A metal, café table and two chairs furnished it. From the far left, you could see the Friary and look up Park Road, at the Outlet Centre and Bus Station. From the right side, a partition wall separated our balcony from the next Penthouse unit and gave a roof top view in the direction of the Cathedral. Straight out was a complete overview of Killarney, including a straight-on view of the North half of College Road.

     Today, though, MOST of Killarney was hidden -- invisible, within the mists! We could barely see across the road -- and it was merely MISTING at THIS point!  cry    cry    cry

     Parking is NOT provided by the Courtyards, but there is a Public Parking lot on Lewis Road, only about a block away, that is MUCH more reasonably priced than most others. After the agent left, I drove the car around and we dragged all our luggage into the apartment. It took two trips -- and as I was returning the second time, our weather respite came to a sudden -- and violent ending! Dismayed by the prospect of lumbering about in the lashing rain, we ordered take-away from the Chinese Restaurant, hustled it back to our apartment, ate a hasty meal, unpacked, showered and collapsed into bed.

     And, promptly slept -- for TEN hours!    biggrin    biggrin    biggrin

More to Come

Bob 



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Help Us to Help You.  The more you tell us about your plans (dates, interests, budget), the better we can tailor our advice to suit!



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Bob,

Thanks for the feedback on the Aisling Hotel and the Courtyards Self-catering. They look very nice. You must have been exhausted!

Michele

__________________

"Ireland Expert"  Michele Erdvig

Click links for Michele's Book or Custom Ireland Itinerary

Visit Michele's Irish Shop for unique Irish gifts and beautiful photos of Ireland.

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